Posts Tagged ‘Wedding Feast of the Lamb’

I Cannot Come to the Banquet

The Wedding Banquet
The Wedding Banquet

“…He replied, “Once a man gave a banquet and invited many people. When the time came for the banquet, he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come! Everything is ready!’  But they responded with a chorus of excuses. The first said to him, ‘I’ve just bought a field, and I have to go out and see it. Please accept my apologies.’  Another said, ‘I’ve just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to test them out. Please accept my apologies.’  Still another said, ‘I have just gotten married, so I can’t come.’  The servant came and reported these things to his master (Luke 14:15-20).

“I cannot come.  I cannot come to the banquet don’t bother me now.  I have married a wife, I have bought me a cow.  I have fields and commitments that cost a pretty sum.  Pray hold me excused, I cannot come.”  

These are the words from a song I sang in choir when I was very young.  I don’t know why the words have stuck in my head – perhaps it’s because we used to mix them up and say, “I have married a cow and bought me a wife,” but the idea remained the same.  There was a banquet being held and the invited people made excuses for not attending.

At the time I sang this song, I was in the Lutheran church and had no clue as to what the song was about (most likely, the choir director, the pastor, or anyone else in the church understood either).    All I knew was some sort of banquet invitation had been given and poor RSVP excuses were made.

After I became born again into God’s Kingdom, I found the account of this great banquet in Luke 14.  I didn’t even know the song came from the Scriptures until I read Luke!  At the time, I understood it from the only perspective I had at the time. The ‘banquet’ was about accepting the invitation to enter the Kingdom of God through faith in Jesus.   I had done that; I was born again so I was ‘at the banquet.’  It was not until many years later when the Spirit of God opened my eyes to the Feasts of the LORD that I grasped the enormity of  the invitation and the gravity of making excuses.

The fall ‘appointed times’ arrive each year:  Feast of Trumpets, Yom Kippur, and Feast of Tabernacles.  The institutional church does not acknowledge these dates and times thus remain ignorant 2000 years after Yeshua’s Parable of the Great Banquet.  Others who may be familiar with the ‘appointed times’ continue to remain complacent with rationalizations and do not embrace the celebrations that Yahweh Himself provided for His people to see, know, and understand His Son more intimately and prophetically.

Like the individuals in the parable, they make excuses as to why ‘I cannot come,’  They are still getting married, buying and selling homes, can’t stay out that late because of small children, have wood to chop, bread to bake, or are preparing for the next day’s activities.   The worst excuse I have ever heard is that these are Jewish feasts and the invitation is completely rejected due to centuries of anti-semitism.

“Then the owner of the house, in a rage, told his servant, ‘Quick, go out into the streets and alleys of the city; and bring in the poor, the disfigured, the blind and the crippled!‘ The servant said, ‘Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.’  The master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the country roads and boundary walls, and insistently persuade people to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet!’” (Luke 14:15-24).

The parable is clear that those who made excuses for not attending the banquet enraged the host.   Read that again, the host was enraged by the responses of the people!  In his rage he said that “not one person who was invited and made an excuse will even get a taste of his feast.”  This statement reveals the magnitude of the host’s fury at these people. What I found fascinating is that these same words are found in  Hebrews 4:3 regarding Isra’el and their disobedience to the Sabbath, “And in my anger, I swore they would not enter my rest.”  It seems dangerous to enrage such a host, an allegory to Yahweh Himself.

“The angel said to me, “Write: ‘How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 19:9).

Matthew 22 relates the same Parable, but its purpose becomes more specific.  It is a wedding feast, the wedding feast of the host’s son. It is the wedding feast of the Lamb.

“Yeshua again used parables in speaking to them: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding feast for his son,  but when he sent his servants to summon the invited guests to the wedding, they refused to come. So he sent some more servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, I’ve prepared my banquet, I’ve slaughtered my bulls and my fattened cattle, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding!’ But they weren’t interested and went off, one to his farm, another to his business; and the rest grabbed his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was furious and sent his soldiers, who killed those murderers and burned down their city.

Again, those invited to the wedding feast refused to come – refused to come! They weren’t interested – weren’t interested and went off to do their personal lives. Others, who were probably offended that someone would even suggest coming to a Jewish King’s banquet mistreated and killed the emissaries of the King.

“Then he said to his servants, ‘Well, the wedding feast is ready; but the ones who were invited didn’t deserve it.  So go out to the street-corners and invite to the banquet as many as you find.’  The servants went out into the streets, gathered all the people they could find, the bad along with the good; and the wedding hall was filled with guests.” 

The King told his servants that the ones who were invited didn’t deserve to come! So they went out onto the streets and invited those who were poor, blind, crippled.  When his house was still not completely full, the servants intently persuaded others to come to the banquet.   Ahh, persuasion. Intense persuasion.  Sometimes they can be persuaded to come, to appease the host; sometimes they just don’t care.  Even so,  it was not the original guests that filled the host’s house, sat at the table of the host’s son,  and tasted the goodness of the wedding feast, but those who had willing hearts and set the time apart from the cares of this world.

“One of the people at the table with Yeshua said to him, “How blessed are those who eat bread in the Kingdom of God!” (Matthew 22:15).

These are the same words written in Revelation about the actual Wedding Feast of the Lamb. It is not the original guests that will fill the banquest hall, sit at Yeshua’s table as his Bride, and taste the goodness of the marriage supper along with the cup of wine He will drink with us in the Kingdom.

“The angel said to me, “Write: ‘How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 19:9)

There was another guest described at the wedding feast – the one who came without wedding clothes. Proper wedding clothes were provided by the host to everyone attending the feast so there was no distinction between rich and poor. Yet, this guest was rebellious, rebellious to the requirements of the host for attending the wedding banquet. This guest’s arrogance to his own imaginings made him speechless when confronted by the host about his lack of garment. He believed he could come to the wedding banquet ‘just as he was’ because he believed the host to be more gracious than righteous.

“Now when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who wasn’t dressed for a wedding; so he asked him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him outside in the dark!’ In that place people will wail and grind their teeth, for many are invited, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:11-14).

How many who believe they are in the Kingdom will miss the greatest event of all time because they refused the invitation to come to the feast in the present? How many will miss the greatest blessing in eternity because they made excuses for God’s ‘appointed times’ now? And, how many more who believe they follow God will be weeping and gnashing their teeth in the outer darkness when they realize God doesn’t honor man’s ways? As the Scripture says, “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

©2012 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.

Passover: A Betrothal Ceremony

“And he [Yeshua] said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God” (Luke 22:15).

Yeshua longed to celebrate his final Passover in this world with his disciples.  He knew his time was short and he wanted to reveal God’s plan of reconciliation at its ‘appointed time.’  As the Lamb of God, he offered salvation to his brothers and sisters who were enslaved by sin and the consequences of their rebelliousness.  As the Son of God, he would transform the Passover seder’s traditional elements into a betrothal ceremony with a groom, a bride, a cup of wine, the bride’s father, the bride price, wedding preparations, and wedding guests.  With this Passover seder, Yeshua would institute the renewed covenant of marriage that would restore Israel to her Husband.

The Groom

“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.  He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.  Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by Yahweh, smitten by him, and afflicted”  (Isaiah 53:2-5).

The groom is Yeshua himself.  Scripture describes him as having no beauty or majesty. He was not handsome like King David.  He had no desirable outward appearance and was so unattractive that men hid their faces from him, yet he desired a Bride.

The Bride

In a traditional Jewish betrothal ceremony, the hopeful groom would offer the potential bride a cup of wine as his proposal for marriage.  He would drink from the cup first and then offer it to her. If she accepted the proposal, the woman would drink from the cup of wine.  By sharing the cup with the man, she agreed to be ‘set apart’ as his bride.   She would remain faithful to him until the day of their wedding when their marriage would be consummated.  A week-long wedding feast would follow with friends and family. 

“After taking the cup [of Sanctification], he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes’” (Luke 22:14-16).

In the Passover seder, the first cup of wine is called the  “Cup of Sanctification.”  After blessing the cup, Yeshua offered the cup of wine to his disciples.  As each one drank from the cup, they were acknowledging their acceptance of Yeshua’s marriage proposal.  It became an individual commitment they each one was going to become Yeshua’s sanctified, holy, and set apart Bride.

Once the Cup of Sanctification had been shared, the bridegroom would not drink the fruit of the vine until the day of the wedding feast.  The bride, however, was to remember her betrothed and the marriage covenant, every time she drank from the cup. 

“For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

The Bride’s Father

“If God were your Father, you would love me, for I [Yeshua] came from God and now am here.   Why is my language not clear to you?  Because you are unable to hear what I say.   You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning…” (John 8:44-6).

After the bride accepts the groom’s proposal, the bride’s father sets the bride price.   Generally it was something of value because the father was losing a daughter.   In Israel’s case (and ours) before we are redeemed, our father is the devil and murder is his specialty.  He would rather have Israel destroyed than to have her redeemed.  He would rather see us die in our sins than be restored to eternal life.  Our father, the Adversary, required the highest price that could be paid to take us from him.  He required  that our Betrothed die for us.  He required that he be beaten, bruised and killed.  He required that he shed his blood. 

The Bride Price Paid

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup (of Redemption), saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:19).

Then Yeshua poured a second cup of wine.  In the traditional Passover seder, this cup is called the “Cup of Redemption.”  Along with some unleavened bread, he held up the cup and made a powerful declaration.  For us, his Bride, he would willingly pay the required bride price.

“… He humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Philippians 3:10).

Another cup of wine, a third cup called ‘The Cup of Plagues” was poured to remember the judgments on Egypt with the final one being the death of the firstborn.  Because God allowed the firstborn of Israel to live, they had to redeem or ‘buy back’  their firstborn sons with the sacrifice of a lamb.  Now, the Lamb of God was going to ‘buy back’ God’s firstborn son,  Israel (Exodus 4:22).   Yeshua did not pour this cup with his disciples in the upper room, instead he wrestled with it as he prayed to his Father on the Mount of Olives and sweat great drops of blood. 

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground” (Luke 22:42-44).

A fourth cup of wine called “The Cup of Completion” was not consumed during the Passover in Yeshua’s time.   Instead, it was consumed at the close of the following day to complete the Passover.  Yeshua drank this soured cup of wine while he was hanging on the cross.  With the words, “It is finished,” he completed the Passover  memorial, gave up his spirit, and died.   The bride price had been paid in full.

“Knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Yeshua said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Yeshua’s lips. When he had received the drink, Yeshua said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 18:28-30).

The Groom’s Preparation

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2,3).

After sealing the marriage covenant, the bridegroom would leave for a time to prepare a home for his bride. In Middle Eastern culture, he would add a room onto his father’s house.  The addition could take anywhere from two days to two years.   Before Yeshua dies, resurrects and ascends to his Father, he tells his newly betrothed Bride, that he was going to prepare a place in his Father’s house, the coming Millennial Temple in Jerusalem.  He promised to return for them so that they could be where he would be.

The Bride’s Preparation

“Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness or sanctification out of reverence for the Lord” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

The bride, now bought with a bride price, would spend her time preparing herself for her wedding day (1 Corinthians 6:20).  It would arrive at an unknown day and hour so she always had to be ready.   Waiting as a wise virgin, she would light an oil lamp in her window just in case her bridegroom arrived during the night.  She had known of other brides being swept away sometime near midnight and she wanted to be ready when she heard:

‘Here’s the bridegroom!  Come out to meet him’!’  … The virgins who are ready went in with him to the wedding banquet.  And the door was shut” (Matthew 25:6,10).

In Greek, ‘sanctification’ is hagiasmos and means ‘to be set apart for a holy purpose.’  Sanctification is the process by which a person is incorporated more fully into the physical and spiritual reality of Messiah, being made more like him and doing the will of his Father. Being ‘set apart for a holy purpose’ is more than just drinking a small glass of wine and eating a dissolving wafer or piece of bread every other week. Sanctification is the course of life consistent with those who are separated out of the world as the Bride of Messiah.

Sanctification comes through Yeshua: ”For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified” (John 17:19).  Sanctification  comes through studying the Scriptures: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17) . Sanctification comes through the power of the Holy Spirit: “Who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit …” (1 Peter 1:2).

Sanctification must be pursued by the Bride earnestly and unswervingly.  The Bride will make every effort to be holy for without holiness no one will see Yeshua (Hebrews 12:14).   The Bride of Messiah will “make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him” when Yeshua comes (2 Peter 3:1-4). 

The sanctified, holy character of the Bride is not transferred from one person to another.    This is the meaning of Yeshua’s Parable of the 10 Virgins.   Those Virgins who had oil in their lamps could not give it away.  Oil is bought at the cost of “keeping oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).   The Bride of Messiah will be ready with   oil and her lamp lit when her Bridegroom arrives at an unknown hour (Matthew 25).  She will have kept herself spotless, pure and holy.  She will have made herself ready for her wedding day. 

The Father of the Groom

“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God…”(1 Thessalonians 4:16).

The father of the groom determined the time that his son would return for his bride.  The groom could only return for his bride when the addition to the house was complete.  This was so that the groom wouldn’t rush, but properly prepare a home for the arrival is his bride.

Neither the groom nor the bride knew the exact day or the hour of their wedding, but it would arrive with the fanfare of the groom’s best friends and the excited wedding party. There would be lots of noise and shouting.  The excited bridegroom would then enter the bride’s home and ‘snatch her away.’  Together they would return to the groom’s father’s house and enter the wedding chamber where they would consummate their marriage.  A week later they would reappear and the wedding feast would begin.

On a day and hour unknown, at the ‘appointed time’ of his Father, Yeshua will be coming back for his Bride.  He will arrive with a great shout, a trumpet blast and his Bride will rise to meet him in the air.  They will go to the bridal chamber where they will consummate their marriage and then celebrate the grandest of all wedding feasts.

The Wedding Guests

“Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding banquet of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God” (Revelation 19:9).

Only a select few consisting of bridesmaids, groomsmen along with parents and immediate family members attend a wedding rehearsal dinner with the bride and groom.  The friends and relatives  of the bride and groom make up the enormous guest list.

Yeshua is speaking about his own wedding feast when he says it will occur in the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 8:10-12, Luke 13:28-30).   The Kingdom of Heaven is not some remote corner of  the sky hidden above the clouds. The Kingdom of Heaven, according to Yeshua, is here on earth and will be restored here on earth.  He will return here for his Bride, have the ultimate wedding feast [Passover] and then take his Bride to his Father’s house [the Temple] and within its many rooms they will live as High Priest and royal priesthood.  

Yeshua describes the guests that will be at wedding feast of the Lamb in different parables. He says that many will come from the east and west and take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.  And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10).

In Revelation, there is a multitude of people wearing white robes washed in the blood of the Lamb.   They hold palm branches and cry out Hosanna just as those who accompanied Yeshua into Jerusalem.  This is an enormous group of people from every generation who acce[ted Yeshua’s bride price and Cup of Redemption. They are from every nation, tribe, and language.  They are overjoyed at being redeemed and sing at the throne of Yeshua. These men, women, and children are the invited  guests at the wedding feast of the Lamb.

Yeshua also says that not everyone invited to the wedding feast will attend.  Some make excuses like having just bought property or a cow (Luke 14).  Others will excuse themselves because a ‘Jewish‘   feast isn’t for them.  Some guests who thought they were important will find out they are not: ‘the first shall be last and the last shall be first’ (Matthew 20:6).  Other guests will be ‘thrown out of the kingdom into outer darkness’ for not following protocol and putting on the proper wedding clothes (Matthew 22:11).

The Wedding of the Lamb

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear. (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints)” (Revelation 19:8).

The wedding of the Lamb will take place in the Kingdom of God. The wedding hall will be filled with guests too numerous to count.  The Bride’s sanctified way of life will be rewarded with a gown of fine linen, bright and clean, for her to wear in front of all the wedding guests.  The Bridegroom will once again drink the fruit of the vine with his Bride.

Until her glorious wedding day, the wise Virgin will spend her life  preparing herself with acts of righteousness.  She will keep herself pure and holy and unspotted from the world through personal sanctification.  She will keep her lamp full of oil waiting for the soon return of her Bridegroom at his ‘appointed time.’  Every year as she  commemorates the Passover, she has an annual reminder of her Beloved’s words to her while he is in his Father’s house preparing a place for them to live: “Do this in remembrance of me” (1 Corinthians 11:23-24).

© 2000 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.   For a hard copy of this blog post,  please purchase Journey with Jeremiah: Nourishment for the Wild Olive.